“Nothing is more common than unfulfilled potential.“
“Few people even scratch the surface, much less exhaust the contemplation of their own experience.” –Randolph Bourne
Everyone knows the breakout sophomore stars for this upcoming NBA season. Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, and Kristaps Porzingis are all expected to build off of their NBA All-Rookie First Team honors. However, the sophomore I am most excited to watch this year is the Texas native with crazy hair, Myles Turner.
Myles Turner was the number two overall recruit on the ESPN top 100 chart in 2014. He chose to stay local and attend The University of Texas. In his one season in Austin, Turner only started seven out of the 34 games the Longhorns played, often playing behind the senior, Cameron Ridley. In 22.2 minutes of action, he averaged 10.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, shot 0.455 from the field, and 0.839 from the line. Although only shooting 0.274 from three-point range, we were able to see that stretching the floor would become a vital part of his game. With a 7’4” wingspan and a 9’4” standing reach, Myles also had the length and physical tools to add to his versatile game.
To no one’s surprise, Myles entered the 2015 NBA draft, and he fell into the lap of Larry Bird and the Pacers with the 11th overall selection. At Vegas Summer League, he averaged 18.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks, making teams wonder why in the world they passed on him. In his rookie season with the Pacers, he averaged 22.8 minutes per game, 10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 0.498 from the field, 0.727 from the line, and 0.214 from three. These numbers are nearly identical to his numbers at Texas. However, we need to consider two important things here. First, he missed one-fourth of the season due to his thumb injury that required surgery. Second, he only played around 22-23 minutes per game, yet shot nearly 50% from the field. We only got a small dose of what Myles Turner will be like; the 20-year old has barely scratched the surface on both ends of the court. Turner is expected to be the starting center for the Pacers this upcoming season, and I assume his minutes will jump up into the 28-30 minutes per game range. He is in a perfect situation. Turner doesn’t have all the pressure on him because Paul George is the face of the franchise, but Turner is on a team that will be competitive and has made great strides with their offseason acquisitions. And, he will have big Al Jefferson mentoring him this year (even if you don’t like Jefferson’s game it’s hard to ignore his apparent knowledge of NBA basketball). Everyone should be excited for the potential star power of Myles Turner. Keep a lookout for more and more kids rocking the spiky dreads look in 2017.